Flickr user Carol VanHook

National Children's Grief Awareness Day is observed every year on the Thursday before Thanksgiving.  Lafayette's celebration is being hosted by Healing House at Park Sans Souci tomorrow night at 5:30 p.m. They are inviting the community to participate in their community wide remembrance ceremony to show support for children who are trying to work through the grieving process.

People who want to participate in tomorrow's event are being encouraged to wear blue, the color of Children's Grief Awareness events.

An open house for Healing House will be held today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and tomorrow from 7:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. at their facility at 707 Lee Avenue.

Representatives of Healing House says this time of year is a particularly appropriate time to support grieving children because the holiday season is often an especially difficult time for a child after a death. They say that statistics show that "before they graduate from high school, one child out of every 20 will have a parent die-and that number doesn’t include those who experience the death of a brother or sister, a close grandparent, aunt or uncle, or a friend."

Administration and volunteers work to raise awareness for grieving children and teenagers for a variety of reasons:

  • There are more grieving children than most of us realize, 1.5 million children are living in a single-family household because of the death of one parent.
  • Most people don’t realize that it takes most children much longer to deal with their grief than we expect and that the amount of inner turmoil, invisible to most, is much more intense than we have any idea.
  • We raise awareness so that people will realize that even if there aren’t any outward signs of inner turmoil, those storms can still be raging inside a grieving child’s heart. We raise awareness so that people will understand that a grieving child can’t just “get over it”- not in any set time period and not by any act of their own will-and that there’s no reason that they should just “get over it”.
  • We raise awareness in order to help people learn ways they might help a grieving child they happen to know, now or in the future.

Healing House staff say by associating with other grieving children they find someone else who can support, accept and understand their feelings.  Healing House currently offers 9 grief support groups serving over 120 children and families in Acadiana. All services offered at Healing House are free of charge for the families in our area.